7.62x39 AK magazines - recommendations?


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Bozwell
December 3, 2012, 12:21 PM
I recently picked up and converted a Saiga in 7.62x39. I still need to install the bullet guide, but I've been holding off until I purchase some AK magazines for it. I've seen a lot of different flavors of AK magazines and just wanted to ask for some recommendations. I know with other guns, there are "good" magazines and there are some not so good ones, but I know very little about AK's at this point. Is there a particular brand that's considered the best? How about best "bang for your buck"? Any advice is appreciated. Thanks!

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brnmw
December 3, 2012, 12:39 PM
Metal...Metal...Metal.:

The only real suggestion IMO to give would be to stay away from Plastic mags for the 7.62X39mm, if it were the AK-74 variant in 5.45X39mm you would be fine. My experience with "Plastic" mags for 7.62X39mm like Tapco for instance is that it never really seemed to fit in the mag well very good and you could never load the full 30- round capacity in them without having constant feeding problems. I have purchased over the last few years the Bulgarian Metal mags from CDNN Sports they carry them from time to time for about $15-19.00 each est. (The only issue I have had with those was a little filling to get it to sit right, however once filed to a desired fit..."They Work!" Very little if ever any issue with jams, just make sure you take them apart and clean all the grease out of them well before using.
Good luck. :)

JustinJ
December 3, 2012, 12:43 PM
Avoid any mags with a plastic tab for the latch to engage. Any metal should run like a champ.

briansmithwins
December 3, 2012, 12:49 PM
Eastern Europeon steel surplus is going to work. Of the different countries I like Bulgarian, Polish, or Soviet the best. Hungarian is good too. The worst for fit and finish is Romanian. They work but rust easily.

BSW

1KPerDay
December 3, 2012, 01:45 PM
Egyptian metal mags from AIM have been getting good reviews lately.

http://www.aimsurplus.com/product.aspx?item=MAK47EM30&name=Surplus+Egyptian+Maadi+Steel+AK47+7.62x39+30rd+Magazine&groupid=15

Bozwell
December 3, 2012, 02:02 PM
Thanks fellas. I'm going to order some of the Egyptian and 40 round Russian mags from Aim :)

3twelves
December 3, 2012, 02:43 PM
Arsenal poly mags are the best.

http://www.midwayusa.com/Product/715220/arsenal-inc-magazine-ak-47-762x39mm-russian-30-round-polymer-black

Kymasabe
December 3, 2012, 05:42 PM
Unless you're into spraying a lot of lead downrange, I think you'll find a 40-round mag is a little bit much for range use.
I have a couple of 30's I never use. For me, the ideal mag is the Hungarian tanker mags, the 20 rounders. Not too long for the range bench, not too heavy when fully loaded.

Dentite
December 3, 2012, 06:08 PM
I also like the all metal eastern com-bloc surplus mags. I have some 30s and 20s. Never had much interest in 40...that's a lot of weight. Of the ones I have I prefer the type without the metal "rib" on the front or back or both. The smooth front and back are more comfortable to handle, but I can see how the rib may add strength.

I have one Tapco 30 round that came with the rifle and mine fits and feeds fine but a plastic mag just doesn't look and feel right to me in an AK but that's just a matter of taste.

henschman
December 3, 2012, 06:16 PM
The only plastic mags you need to avoid are the American made ones, like Tapco and Promag. Bulgarian circle-10 plastic mags are awesome, and those orange bakelite AKM mags work great as well (if you can actually find any). You can never really go wrong with GI steel mags though, and they are generally cheaper than the quality foreign plastic mags.

Noah
December 3, 2012, 06:26 PM
I have a bunch of the Tapco polymer mags. $9, 4 parts, and zero issues ever. Light, tough, and reliable.

k_dawg
December 3, 2012, 06:46 PM
Since it does not have the bullet guide, have you verified that the Saiga has had its mag catch modified to allow use of 'standard' AK magazines?

I agree with avoiding the Tapco plastic mags. Of course, verify it is 922r compliant before using a foreign mag.

1KPerDay
December 3, 2012, 08:24 PM
I have a bunch of the Tapco polymer mags. $9, 4 parts, and zero issues ever. Light, tough, and reliable.
I thought mags counted as 3 922r parts.

wally
December 3, 2012, 09:31 PM
Any comblock steel mag should be fine as long as they are not dented so badly that the follower binds.

If the follower binds you can iron out the dents by driving a tool into the mag body. There is one available in AK armorers kit, but I found a Craftsman 12" 1/2" drive socket extension on the ratchet end was about the right diameter and fixed a few mags for me after pounding it in a few times where the dents were.

I thought mags counted as 3 922r parts.

They do, but use three US parts elsewhere if you want a reliable rifle.

Girodin
December 3, 2012, 11:29 PM
The only plastic mags you need to avoid are the American made ones, like Tapco and Promag. Bulgarian circle-10 plastic mags are awesome,

There are different kinds of bulgarain platics mags. The waffle mags with steel reinforcements and locking lugs are my favorite AK mags (but pricey these days). There are however, Bulgarian plastic mags that are no better than many of the US plastic mags. The slab side mags with no reinforcements are not something I would buy.

Legit military surplus mags are generally the best buy IMHO.

wojownik
December 4, 2012, 01:43 AM
Go with Bulgarian or Polish steel mags. I have East German steel mags as well, which I would actually have to rank above the Soviet mags.

Be aware that there are two versions of Bulgarian steel mag - one with the metal follower, and another with a polymer follower. Both are fine, but IIRC the steel follower is milsurp while the polymer follower is kind of a hybrid commercial production.

Agree with the advice that the Romanians have the worst fit and finish of any Euro mags, but they are functional.

Don't know much about the Egyptian mags, but I'd recommend staying away from the Asian AK mags. I bought two, and the seams started separating.

As for polymers, the Bulgarian (Arsenal) with steel lining and locking lugs appear to be pretty good. Be aware that there are also Bulgarian polymer mags with steel lining, but without steel lugs. The polymer lug can shear off with aggressive use. There are also Bulgarian polymer mags without steel lining or lugs. These can suffer from cracking around the feed lips, as well as shearing of the lug. I have a few of these Bulgarian polymer-only mags (with the imprint of bullets on the side), and I would only use these for the most casual of range use.

As for U.S. made polymers, IMHO, redirect your funding to any of the above options.

1KPerDay
December 4, 2012, 02:37 AM
Thanks for the tip. I just got some rusted/mangled mags from classic arms. Never again.. f the follower binds you can iron out the dents by driving a tool into the mag body. There is one availablein AK armorers kit, but I found a Craftsman 12" 1/3" drive socket extension on the ratchet end was about the right diameter and fixed a few magsforme afterpounding it in a few times where the dents were.

fatcat4620
December 4, 2012, 06:40 AM
Go with circle 10 polymer mags, they are the best. Also the gen2 US palm mags are but bad.

Girodin
December 4, 2012, 07:11 PM
I would take good steel surplus mags over US palm mags every time. Steel mags are cheaper too. If you are going to pay the cost of a US palm mag, pay a couple dollars more and get a much better Bulgarian mag with proper steel lug and reinforcements (there is about a 4-5 dollar difference based on the places I looked but it was not an exhaustive search for the best deals available for each).

The best I can tell US palm mags got pumped up buy a bunch of hyperbolic statemens by, the convicted fraud Gabe Suarez. He has shown again and again his recomendation are tied more to what he is peddling than anything else. He also has shown a willingness to lie for profit. While Suarez was trying to tell everyone the US palm mags (which he was heavily invested in) were better than Circle tens, every independent test I saw showed them being out performed in terms of durability and reliability by both Circle tens and various steel military mags. As the reports of failures rolled in, it really made one wonder how suarez every could have been teeling the truth about the "abuse" he'd put them trough. The mags were reportedly modified to cure some of these woes. However, I'm a little skeptical to believe the same sources that claim they are "good to go" now that claimed that before and made a bunch of claims that turned out to be BS.

Another fault of the US palm mags is that they will not work in some other guns that take AK mags. Thus if you ever want to get one of those you have to buy all new mags.

I also do not like the fact that I cannot take apart the US palm mags. I am aware of the talking points on this issue from the proponents of the US Palm mags, however, I would still prefer the ability to remove them.

The only advantage I see for the US Palm mag is that they save a few ounces of weight. Hardly worth the additional price and the other issues they bring.

Here is what Duane Litpak of Magpul had to say about the updated US Palm mags:

I completely agree with their decision to not put metal in the feed lips...necessary with cheap soviet plastic, and not so much with modern materials. I was a big fan of these for a while, but after some issues with the durability of the sheet metal cage, I use them for range and training and waffle circle 10s and polish steels are back as my go to mags. The sheet metal is too thin and just wraps around the locking tab, so a drop or impact on the tab will still crush the tab or tear it free. They function well, though, and are a decent bit more durable than current unreinforced mags. I do wish they could be disassembled, though.

http://www.m4carbine.net/showthread.php?p=1452426

FIVETWOSEVEN
December 4, 2012, 07:41 PM
Light, tough, and reliable.

Nope, the plastic tabs can break easily and if the gun is dropped on the magazine fully loaded, it will break in more ways than one. Range use they are fine but if you want something you could trust beyond the shooting range, avoid them.

fatcat4620
December 4, 2012, 08:09 PM
Girodin, you are right on most accounts. The price gap on palm mags is shifting. On black Friday palms were $20 while circle 10s still hover around $36. Arsenal also had some new mags with steel lugs for $20 but have been out of stock. I am waiting for lancer to get into the ak mag game but doubt it will happen.

Girodin
December 4, 2012, 08:18 PM
Not only will tapco plastic mags fail a drop test, see video below. People have broken them simply by going prone and having the mag hit the ground as they do. They really are not fit for anything other than use on a square range. The locking lug and the feed lips are far to prone to failure. A $9 mag is not much of a savings over a $15 mag or even a $35 one, once those parts are broken on your nine dollar mag.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQalsPMe3tY

In a mag test published in the Shotgun News Tapco mags failed when the locking lug broke.

If all your shooting is on a square range and you have no intent to use the mags for defensive use then Tapcos might be worth considering. Even then I'm not sure they would be the best buy.

According to every carbine course instructor I've heard opine on the subject most malfunctions are mag related. I think part of the reason AKs have built such a reputation for reliability is that all the true com bloc mags built for them were sturdy reliable mags. Magazines are not a place to cheap out if you are at all concerned with reliability.

fatcat4620
December 4, 2012, 08:24 PM
Tapcos are worthless BUT the new slab sides do look good. Also look or for commercial Bulgarian polymers. They do not have any steel in them

Girodin
December 4, 2012, 08:43 PM
Yeah the commercial Bulgarians tend to fail in the same way the Tapcos do, although they seem to take slightly more abuse before doing so based on the tests I've seen.

leadcounsel
December 4, 2012, 08:52 PM
Anyone have and like/don't like the Yugo metal mags with the bolt hold open feature, and would you recommend these for the additional few dollars per mag?

fatcat4620
December 4, 2012, 09:21 PM
Anyone have and like/don't like the Yugo metal mags with the bolt hold open feature, and would you recommend these for the additional few dollars per mag?

I converted one of my chugo mags to bolt hold open and did not like it. Hard to get the mags out as the recoil spring is jamming the bolt against the follower.

On the note of metal mags the Korean mags are regarded to be junk.

T2K
December 5, 2012, 04:52 AM
Someone said above to avoide the "Asian" mags and someone above said to avoid the Korean mags. I cannot personally comment, but I've heard and seen that a lot about the recent commercial production Korean mags. I bet the North Korean mags are solid though!

Note, however, that some of the best AK mags ever are the Chinese ones that were widely imported and seen in the 80's along with the Chinese AK's (Norinco, for example). Banned in 1989 by Bush I's executive order. Those are my two best mags - solid, perfect construction.

You're unlikely to encounter those much on the market these days (I'm not selling mine!) but, "just for the record..."

Inebriated
December 5, 2012, 04:59 AM
I've had some poor experiences with Korean mags.

I like European steel mags better than any other. I am trying some Arsenal polymer mags that are based off Bulgarian mags though, so maybe I'll find myself switching to those.

Girodin
December 5, 2012, 05:28 AM
You're unlikely to encounter those much on the market these days (I'm not selling mine!) but, "just for the record..."

What makes them better than say circle tens?

hq
December 5, 2012, 05:35 AM
I've mainly used DDR surplus mags (very cheap), older finnish steel mags (hard to come by) and 2nd gen finnish composite military mags (made by Sako). All of them have worked fine, these composite mags have a reputation of being virtually indestructible and I agree, last time I was at military rehearsals I was issued a bunch of them made in mid 90's and while they were extremely beat up, they still worked perfectly.

brnmw
December 5, 2012, 12:24 PM
All I know in my own experience is that when they shipped my AK to me it came with a waffle plastic mag that was not worth the plastic it was made with. So I purchased a couple of "Tapco" mags to see if they were any better and they were not. I for the record would not use them if my "Life" were at stake too many feeding/jamming issues. :oI have to say when I took it to the gun range it kept jamming and this guy came up next to me and said "I guess the AK rep is really a crock huh?" Kind of embarrassing really!

Ever since I switched to the metal mags I think I have had mabye one jam that I can remember. :)

curtix
December 5, 2012, 12:36 PM
Tapco - 8 - 9 $ each. 0 problems.
A lot depends on your particular receiver. I have a milled out WASR 10 and the Steel mag that came with it is VERY loose (typical of the WASR 10s) but my TAPCO fits like a glove.

JustinJ
December 5, 2012, 12:54 PM
I don't really get the ranking of AK mags as good or bad, with a few minor exceptions. All the European mags i own have worked flawlessly. Some arrived in better shape but all are tough and reliable.

sansone
December 5, 2012, 01:06 PM
Tapco - 8 - 9 $ each. 0 problems.
A lot depends on your particular receiver. I have a milled out WASR 10 and the Steel mag that came with it is VERY loose (typical of the WASR 10s) but my TAPCO fits like a glove.
my experience also

FIVETWOSEVEN
December 5, 2012, 05:41 PM
I converted one of my chugo mags to bolt hold open and did not like it. Hard to get the mags out as the recoil spring is jamming the bolt against the follower.

Try an original BHO mag, they come out like a breeze.

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